Today’s guest post is by FeedBlitz user, Erin Feldman.
If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely. – Henri Ducard
Today I’d like to share a poor example of branding and reputation, and pose some questions to help us reflect on the success of our own brand. Below is an example we can learn from, and should keep in mind when building our personal and business brand.
You Have to Make Yourself More than a Man (or a Name)
One of my friends works at a local non-profit grief counseling center. That center decided to enhance its image – its brand – through working with a local, well-known ad agency. The agency was hired to create a new logo and tagline that spoke to the center’s mission and goals. It was assumed the agency would do good work because they were well-known, respected and could be found in any number of award annuals and shows.
However, as it turned out, the agency’s name didn’t live up to the center’s expectations. The work was not good. In fact, it was less than stellar.
My friend commented she could have developed better logos and taglines. She’s a writer, albeit not a copywriter, but one nonetheless. She knows quality work when she sees it, and the work presented by the agency was not it. She found herself wondering who had been assigned the project at the agency.
- How could such a big name agency turn out such below average work?
- Who was tasked with the project? Did the agency wait to work until the eleven o’clock hour?
- How could the work presented to the center be at such odds with the agency’s usual work?
You Have to Devote Yourself to An Ideal
I could make any number of guesses as to what happened, the first one being fairer than the others. The fact is, sometimes agencies do botch jobs. Agencies are filled with humans, and humans make mistakes. Copywriters and art directors don’t always prove up to the task for whatever reason. They turn in bad or only semi-decent work at times. They are sent back to their drawing boards.
That is the fairer guess; the other ones are more questions rather than accusations. Perhaps the reason for the shoddy work is more deeply rooted than that. Perhaps the agency forgot the ideals for which it stands – or stood if the work for the center becomes a habit rather than a fluke. Perhaps the agency neglected what is most important: The work and the people for whom the work is done.
You (have to) Become Something Else Entirely
The agency’s name means little. It’s what the name stands for that matters. The name may be well-known and associated with the qualities of creativity and integrity, but popularity and an ethereal sense of the agency’s qualities does not good work make. It is good work that makes good work. Such work stands the test of time. It is how people and businesses – no matter who they are or how big they are – are treated that matters. The name is not enough.
My friend’s experience proves the point. She now wonders about the agency. She wonders at how the center was treated. She wonders if an intern was tasked with the project and not given direction or critique. She wonders how the work could be so awful that her boss has had to schedule a meeting with the agency to talk about the project.
The agency’s reputation – its brand – is being questioned because the agency seemingly chose to rest on the strength of its name rather than the strength of its work and treatment of people.
Could the agency recover from such a blow, minimal though it may be? Of course it could. The agency could return to what makes it a good one. It could remember that its name is not enough.
It could decide that, doing good and even great work is what matters. It could review the foundation and ideals that made its name such a popular one in the first place. It could recall that what made its name great was its dedication to doing good work regardless of who the client was.
It could choose to believe in those things again, and in doing so, make its name more than enough because it no longer stands for just a brand or some people at an agency; it stands for an ideal and has become something else entirely.
What does your name represent? What is your brand built upon?
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